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MGM announces plans to put offices at Union Station

Date: 9/26/2012

By G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD — MGM Resorts International has raised the stakes again in its effort to secure its selection as the casino developer for the city.

The company announced last week its intentions to "integrate a revitalized Union Station into its hotel, casino and entertainment district proposal for downtown Springfield."

The company is proposing locating it Regional Corporate Office and its Regional Training Institute for new employees at Union Station.

Earlier this year when the redevelopment of Union Station was announced, Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy noted the five floors of office space could be used by a casino developer.

Because the city has started its Request for Proposal (RFP) process to determine a casino developer and host agreement, Kennedy told Reminder Publications that he expected MGM would discuss this proposal within the RFP process.

"Our project isn't just about one neighborhood or community or interest group," Bill Hornbuckle, MGM's chief marketing officer and president of MGM Springfield said. "It is about helping to create a better future for an entire city, and tying in Union Station is just one example of how we intend to leverage the global strength of MGM to attract new opportunities, growth, and prosperity to every corner of Springfield."

Hornbuckle formally notified the city of MGM's proposal for Union Station in a letter to Kennedy this week.

"The vision Springfield's elected leaders and city officials have put forward for Union Station is truly inspiring," Hornbuckle said. "We've heard loud and clear that restoring this landmark is a key priority and we want to play a leading role in making this a reality."

Mayor Domenic Sarno and Kennedy formally announced the start of the city's first phase of its RFP process last week.

The first phase would pre-qualify developers for the second phase, which would involve the actual negotiations for a host agreement.

The city's timetable has the completion of a host agreement at the end of April 2013, followed by a vote by the City Council for approval. Springfield voters would then vote to approve the plan.